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mother who guided me to the portals of the temple whose treasures I have sought to set before you to-night, of the brother whose swifter and stronger, though more youthful feet, first followed, then accompanied, then outran mine; of the teachers whose instructions, more precious than refined gold, were less precious than the examples of their character and life, all rise before me, and affection towards the studies of Greece and Rome rises into reverence, and reverence melts back again into childish, tearful love." It is a subject, I confess, in which, like Macaulay, "I love to forget the accuracy of a judge, in the veneration of a worshipper and the gratitude of a child.”
But on this occasion I have hoped to present some of the elements of value for the purposes of education, which these studies offer to all. The review has impressed upon me not only the constant utility of classical studies in every age and under all conditions of life, but the permanence which belongs to the work of scholars. My closing words shall, therefore, be words of cheer to those whose liberal minds have devised the incentive of this occasion to good learning in our State. The torch of Athens and Rome, the torch whose light has never been quenched even in the midnights of ignorance and superstition which have sometimes overspread the world, is in your hands. O bear it aloft,—for light in darkness, for hope in discouragements, for courage in defeat, for wisdom in difficulties, for protection in dangers, for beauty and glory in every hour of success and victory. It is the torch of learning, of principle, of morality. Beneath its illumination walk religion, law, and Christian civilization, while ignorance, and violence, and corruption glide away to haunts unvisited by its pure rays.
ARTICLE III.—INTERCOLLEGIATE REGATTAS, HURDLE
RACES AND PRIZE-CONTESTS.
It has been often said and truly, that our country is greatly different, in almost every respect, from what it was fifty years ago. The wholesale immigration of the lower orders of European society upon our shores has spread like a deluge over all the land, and swept away from the present generation, as from those that shall succeed it, many of the dearest traditions and treasures of our original and unique home-bistory. The final result of the experiment of universal franchise, and the question of the possible preservation in permanence of our democratic institutions under its existence, are regarded by thoughtful minds throughout the country, as not yet determined or determinable. So cosmopolitan have we now become, under the combined action of many European influences upon us, both at home and abroad, that we have quite lost, in many directions, that clear sense of our distinctive nationality, which would be, if rightly cherished and vindicated, one of our highest ornaments alike, and one of our chief means of influence for good upon other nations, disposed to look admiringly upon our physical prosperity.
Was ever a nation so easily enchanted with soinething new, whether in Church or State, as ours ? Or, was there ever an age in which there was so much combined, with what is precious and enduring, of what is pitiably superficial, and no better than mere dross, in the grand composite of our social condition?
Our day is specially conspicuous, among other things, for great and increasing zeal for physical development and prowess, among the candidates for professional life. And indeed of the varied preparatives for efficient work in subsequent years, nothing, next to a true and noble character, deserves to be more earnestly sought, during the academic and collegiate courses of study, than permanent bodily vigor. The idea once strangely prevalent, that the robust son in a family was, by the very firmness of his bodily fibre, foreordained to active life, and his more weakly brother was with equal certainty adapted specially for quiet in-door occupation, has been well nigh universally scouted in our day, as unworthy of any other notice than ridicule. It is manifest enough to all eyes, that physical vigor wonderfully decides the battle of life. The necessary curtailments of mental application are continual, and severe indeed, to the wearied and worried consciousness of the physical weaklings, who are engaged in intellectual pursuits. And they are all the more so, to such of them as are endowed with superior energy of thought, and especially if accompanied with a high degree of personal culture, already obtained by themselves, and against many, and sore difficulties. A wise parent and a skillful educator will ever remember, that the young minds committed to their care should be trained, both for their own sakes and as active producers of good to others in future years, in such a way, as to be at all times elate and alert with the sense of abounding vitality. All hail to every earnest attempt made anywhere to deepen in the minds of the young the conviction of the untold value to them of high health, from the beginning to the end of their days of earthly toil and trial. Let all wise prescriptions and precepts be employed, by way of stimulation or of repression, to found such a true and active sentiment in their hearts. Let them be taught to take manly exercise often and much ; let them learn to regulate, by right rules, their diet and their hours of action and of repose; let an effectual bar of moral thoughtfulness, and of moral principle, he set up, in their ideas of duty and of self-interest, against any and all temptations to wastefulness of physical vitality, by the use of tobacco or of liquor; let them be told, as they may well be by those who know it to be true, that continuous industry, and especially for high intellectual and moral ends, is one of the greatest possible promotives of health, that regularity of bodily habit in every form and mode is of like hygienic value, and that there is no such inspiration to sustained energy, and no such recuperative influence from any source for its ever new re-animation, as the setting up before the mind, in fixed determinateness, of the highest and noblest ends of action in all things, or the supreme and prayerful consecration of one's whole conscious self to God and duty. The religious inspiration, when strong and true, is the highest inspiration of the human heart, at any time, to the pursuit of whatever is good in itself. And its exalting influence upon the elements of physical elasticity and vigor is no less positive and beneficial, than in every other part of our compound nature.
The tendency of human ideas is ever active, in things moral and social, to vibrate from one extreme to another. The mass are slow to feel the need of change; but when they move they go with a momentum equal to their numbers. Have we not plunged of late, and with moral heedlessness at least, iuto an opposite babit of social feeling respecting muscular exercise, to that which really belongs to our Christian civilization to the higher moods of sentiment which it engenders, and the logical demands which it makes for continued progress onwards and upwards. The way had been steadily and rapidly prepared, during several years past, by the leading secular presses in our large cities, for a general and simultaneous movement in this new direction. Advertisements, editorial notices, and special characterizations, of not only operas and theatres, but also of horse-races, and prize-walkings, liftings and strainings of all sorts, have been scattered all over the land. The discussions of scientific men, exhibitions of art, and religious gatherings have had no more or better attention bestowed upon them. Long and wide and deep have the seeds of the new ideas so prevalent now been sown, from north to south and from east to west. And what a barvest of gross and grotesque usages is at length cropping forth to view in all parts of the land I
A brief account of the history of college regattas, and especially of the last and leading one of them all, will aid one to no small degree, who had not thought of them carefully before, in comprehending the real nature and drift of their influence upon our system of higher education. The first regatta between Harvard and Yale, and very quiet was it in all its dimensions and demonstrations, occurred November 3, 1852, on Lake Winnipiseogee, N. H. In 1859, the first of the regular national series of intercollegiate boat-races took place at Worcester, Mass. ; in which Harvard won the day, as in ten succeeding years she won also eight others (1859–70)
Yale having been twice victor in these violent physical struggles (1864-5). Since 1870 Yale has also once borne off the palm (1873); Amherst, twice (1871–2); Columbia, once (1874); and finally Cornell University (1875) with the highest applause of all.
The last and greatest of these regattas occurred last summer (July 14, 1875) at Saratoga, N. Y., before immense crowds of eager witnesses. The crews of thirteen colleges, long and carefully trained for the approaching struggle, wrestled together there and then, as if for life or for death, for the recognized mastery of the oar, in that one supreme moment of decision. They were arranged, each with their particular decorative color, facing northwards, at the hour of starting, and in the following order from left to right: Williams (royal purple), Cornell (carnelian and white), Amberst (purple and white), Bowdoin (white), Brown (brown), Columbia (blue and white), Wesleyan (lavender), Princeton (orange and black), Dartmouth (green), Yale (blue), Hamilton (rose), Harvard (crimson), and Union (garnet). The race was for a length of two miles; and their order of arrival at the appointed goal was, Cornell first (16'. 53''), and, in succession, Columbia, Harvard, Dartmouth, Wesleyan, Yale, Amherst, Brown, Williams (17', 504'', Ham. ilton, Union, and Princeton. The average age of the Cornell crew was twenty-two and one-half years, and they were mature in physical vigor: that of the Columbia crew was twenty-one and one-sixth years, and that of the Harvard, twenty and onehalf. Age told powerfully for Cornell as did also the early habits, doubtless, of manual labor to which its representatives bad been addicted at their previous homes. Those who go from the ordinary experiences of city life to college, carry with thern far less vigor of muscle and strength of nerve, than they who turn their steps thitherward from the plough or the anvil. Princeton fell fatally back in the struggle at an early period, because of the sudden prostration of one of its crew.
The day was one of the hottest of the season, and it was noted by a reporter of the incidents of the hour to a leading newspaper, that, “two superior horses fell dead” in their harnesses from the over-heating of their blood, in the short carriage-drive from the lake to the town.